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Nine end-user experience monitoring tools to know

The user experience monitoring market is chock-full of options that can be confusing to keep track of. Take a look at nine tools every IT pro should know about.

A number of vendors now offer end-user experience monitoring tools for measuring physical and virtual desktop performance from the users' perspective, but it can be hard to fully understand what the vendors offer and how monitoring fits in.

As valuable as end-user experience monitoring tools can be, getting details about a product's user experience-specific features can be difficult because of confusing product information and insufficient support documentation. Even the actual product names can be unclear.

Explore nine end-user experience monitoring tools to help clarify what vendors are offering and how the pieces fit together in individual products.

Cisco AppDynamics Application Performance Monitoring

AppDynamics Application Performance Monitoring measures the performance and stability of web-based and mobile applications to identify and resolve performance issues. The AppDynamics package includes the End-User Monitoring feature, which tracks business transactions and captures data about errors, crashes, network requests and other metrics to help create a better user experience.

As valuable as user experience monitoring tools can be, getting details about a product's user experience-specific features can be difficult.

The End-User Monitoring component includes three modules for capturing transactional data across user sessions:

  • Mobile Real-User Monitoring: Provides detailed session analytics and gesture tracking for mobile applications
  • Browser Real-User Monitoring: Tracks end-to-end user activity for web-based applications during user sessions
  • Browser Synthetic Monitoring: Tracks business transactions using cloud-based agents that monitor activity from the browser to the back end to simulate user activity

The three modules work in conjunction with other AppDynamics features to provide a complete application monitoring product.

ControlUp Real-time

ControlUp Real-time provides real-time monitoring of virtual and physical desktops to identify and troubleshoot performance bottlenecks. The product monitors servers and desktops, as well as users and applications.

ControlUp Real-time includes the ability to gather data about the end-user experience. The user experience component measures the total logon duration and breaks it into subsections such as profile, desktop and Group Policy load times. ControlUp Real-time also tracks application load times to provide additional user experience insights. With this information, IT can monitor and benchmark load times, as well as compare duration metrics to uncover potential or existing performance issues.

Dynatrace

Dynatrace is an application performance management product that supports business and performance analytics, digital experience management, application performance lifecycle management, and a variety of monitoring capabilities that target cloud, container, application and infrastructure deployments.

The product supports three types of application monitoring for accessing information about the customer experience:

The user experience monitoring component measures the business service effect from the user's perspective, allowing administrators to determine how users interact with websites and applications.
  • Real-user monitoring: Tracks user sessions in real-time across all digital transactions, with the ability to replay individual transactions to identify issues and their causes
  • Synthetic monitoring: Monitors critical workflows using a web-based recorder to capture business transactions, benchmark site performance and compare web application performance from an end-user perspective
  • Mobile monitoring: Tracks application performance in real time for individual components throughout the application stack, while providing information about application interdependencies

eG Enterprise

The eG Enterprise unified monitoring product works for cloud, mobile and virtualized deployments. It provides tools for detecting, diagnosing and resolving application issues, including an end-user experience monitoring component specific to websites and web applications.

The end-user experience monitoring component measures the business service effect from the user's perspective, allowing administrators to determine how users interact with websites and applications. The product provides two approaches to end-user experience monitoring:

  • Real-user monitoring: Passively monitors systems in real time using an agentless approach that captures and analyzes every user transaction
  • Synthetic transaction monitoring: Actively monitors systems using a synthetic approach that emulates transactions to obtain user experience measurements proactively

Together the two monitoring methods provide a complete set of metrics for understanding performance issues from the user's perspective.

Nexthink

Nexthink is a user-centric monitoring tool that offers continuous real-time analysis of endpoint activity and network connectivity. Nexthink offers four key end-user experience monitoring modules:

  • Web and cloud: Analyzes web application activity for browser and non-browser applications.
  • Security: Analyzes application and binary executions, as well as networking connections from the endpoints
  • VDI transformation: Analyzes VDI implementations to help optimize the deployment to best meet user experience needs
  • Integration toolkit: Uses end-user analytics across IT departments using APIs, sample integrations and other tools

Nexthink provides a callable architecture for providing an end user's perspective into IT operations.

Pandora FMS Enterprise

Pandora FMS Enterprise provides visibility into servers, applications, services, transactions, network infrastructures and business processes. Admins can integrate Pandora FMS into their current monitoring systems and use it with large distributed deployments. End-user experience monitoring for both web and desktop application transactions is included in the Pandora FMS package.

Pandora FMS can log into an app, enter a query and track the reply times so administrators can see how long each step takes and where issues occur. Pandora FMS uses the same network and software as end users to get an accurate performance picture from the end user's perspective.

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Quest Foglight

Quest Foglight is a family of products for monitoring, managing and resolving performance issues across database, application and virtual deployments. One of these products is Foglight User Experience Management, which includes tools for monitoring mobile and web user experience. The tool lets administrators capture performance and content data to analyze response times and troubleshoot functional issues.

With Foglight User Experience Management, admins can replay user session activity and capture issues related to user clicks and data entry. They can also monitor Asynchronous JavaScript and XML applications by combining data they collect from the browser and network, as well as perform funnel analyses of multi-step transactions, linking the data back to page content. Foglight User Experience Management lets administrators combine and pivot data in various ways to better understand how application performance affects user experience.

Riverbed SteelCentral

Riverbed SteelCentral is an application performance product that offers network, application and infrastructure performance management capabilities from a centralized dashboard. The product includes SteelCentral Aternity, a monitoring tool that allows administrators to diagnose and resolve end-user issues.

With Aternity, administrators can dynamically monitor any user interaction within any application running on any type of physical or virtual device. Aternity analyzes user activity in real time by transforming the device into a self-monitoring platform. Aternity can automatically discover user attributes such as identity and role and device attributes such as operating system or hardware capabilities, in addition to various types of enterprise applications running locally or in the cloud.

uberAgent

A Windows Splunk agent, uberAgent monitors end-user activities in physical or virtual deployments. Splunk provides a platform for accessing machine data that offers insights into various deployments. The uberAgent tool uses Splunk to report on network performance and provide details about data volumes and connection latencies.

With uberAgent, admins can analyze an application's UI performance and measure its latency. They can also track application interfaces that are not responding properly to user input. In addition, uberAgent provides details about boot and logon durations, target and process network latency, startup duration, and other application usage metrics. Together, this information provides a more complete user experience profile.

Next Steps

Explore more user experience monitoring tools

What can user experience monitoring do for the help desk?

Strike a balance between security and user experience

This was last published in June 2017

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